120 revs per second is 7200 rpm for gearheads. That's a respectable bit of spin. Motor for a mechanical creation the size of a bacteria? Hell yeah! Robots the size of bacteria. Sprinkle them on a junk heap and they'll print me a Ferrari.
The butyl methyl sulphide molecule was placed on a clean copper surface, where its single sulphur atom acted as a pivot.
The tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope - a tiny pyramid with a point just an atom or two across - was used to funnel electrical charge into the motor, as well as to take images of the molecule as it spun.
It spins in both directions, at a rate as high as 120 revolutions per second.
But averaged over time, there is a net rotation in one direction.
By modifying the molecule slightly, it could be used to generate microwave radiation or to couple into what are known as nano-electromechanical systems, Dr Sykes said.